Battles over temperature are a major issue in my house—especially during the summer, when it seems like everyone else in my family wants to keep our house cool enough to store meat, while I prefer temperatures where I can feel my fingers and toes.
Mom Autumn Brandon from Clarkston, Michigan, has become my new hero in the ongoing thermostat battle, after she shared the brilliant note she plastered on her thermostat to make her sons pause before they punched up the heat. Her three questions: Are you wearing a hoodie, pants, socks? Is it November? Do you pay the gas bill? And unless they answer yes to all 3, they can't turn up the thermostat.
Her photo went viral, garnering more than 80,000 reactions and nearly 30,000 comments so far, as apparently many, many parents out there feel her pain. "It was meant as a joke between myself and my kids," she told TODAY. "I'm a humbled mom here in Clarkston just trying to keep energy costs low."
Making rules like that can not only help minimize the thermostat battles, but provide a great jumping off point for discussions of good common sense, fiscal responsibility, and conservation. After all, throwing on a sweater instead could not only decrease the gas bill—it could do one small bit in our battle against global warming.
I will definitely break out her rules next time my tank top-clad daughter wants to crank it up past 70 this December—she already tried to put on the heat a few days after Labor Day!—and I'm already planning to devise my own set of rules that govern air conditioner use next spring and summer: No using it if the outside temps are below 80, for instance. Unfortunately, though, since my husband also pays the electric bill, I may not get as far with him as I do with my kids!
Lisa Milbrand is Parents.com's In Name Only blogger and a mom of two.